Journal of Paleolimnology

, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 509–524 | Cite as

An ostracod-conductivity transfer function for Tibetan lakes

  • Steffen MischkeEmail author
  • Ulrike Herzschuh
  • Gudrun Massmann
  • Chengjun Zhang
Original Paper


About 145 freshwater to hypersaline lakes of the eastern Tibetan Plateau were investigated to develop a transfer function for quantitative palaeoenvironmental reconstructions using ostracods. A total of 100 lakes provided sufficient numbers of ostracod shells. Multivariate statistical techniques were used to analyse the influence of a number of environmental variables on the distributions of surface sediment ostracod assemblages. Of 23 variables determined for each site, 19 were included in the statistical analysis. Lake water electrical conductivity (8.2%), Ca% (7.6%) and Fe% (4.8%, ion concentrations as % of the cations) explained the greatest amounts of variation in the distribution of ostracod taxa among the 100 lakes. Electrical conductivity optima and tolerances were calculated for abundant taxa. A transfer function, based on weighted averaging partial least squares regression (WA-PLS), was developed for electrical conductivity (r 2 = 0.71, root-mean-square-error of prediction [RMSEP] = 0.35 [12.4% of gradient length], maximum bias = 0.64 [22.4% of gradient length], as assessed by leave-one-out cross-validation) based on 96 lakes. Our results show that ostracods provide reliable estimates of electrical conductivity and can be used for quantitative palaeoenvironmental reconstructions similarly to more commonly used diatom, chironomid or pollen data.


Electrical conductivity Salinity Calibration data set CCA Weighted averaging partial least squares regression (WA-PLS) Transfer function Ostracoda Tibetan Plateau 



Thanks are due to Ludwig Buckl who helped with sample treatment and ostracod picking, to Andreas Winkler and Maja Tesmer for analysis of water samples, and Huaming Shang and Yanbin Lei for help during fieldwork. Helpful comments concerning the EC-optima calculation of ostracods were provided by Steve Juggins. In addition, we wish to thank Ian Boomer and an anonymous referee for their thorough reviews and John P. Smol for many helpful comments. Funds were provided through the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steffen Mischke
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ulrike Herzschuh
    • 2
  • Gudrun Massmann
    • 1
  • Chengjun Zhang
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Geological Sciences, Freie Universität BerlinBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Research Unit PotsdamPotsdamGermany
  3. 3.Lanzhou University, Centre for Arid Environment and Paleoclimate ResearchGansuChina

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